Even with a limited number of shows under our belts in 2021, there were plenty of showstopping numbers and some very special moments to enjoy. We have moments from new musicals, dazzling revivals, a re-visit to a favorite, and a wonderful family holiday show. Did any of your favorites make out list?
THE BEST OF
SHOWSTOPPERS AND SPECIAL MOMENTS
CAROLINE, OR CHANGE:
"16 Feet Beneath the Sea": A promising opening number, the mysterious tone and the troubling symbolism of the song's metaphors give the audience plenty to think about. We hung on every word.
"The Dryer": Sensuous and sinister, the red-glowing Dryer (Kevin S. McAllister) brings an edge to Caroline's basement friends.
"Tick Tock": Hilariously brought to life as a door-slamming farce, this number revels in the panic of Bobbie's commitment issues. Plus, a feathered nightie-clad Patti LuPone taking an exhausted dump (art imitating life once again, dolls), and a scorching hot Clybourne Elder shaking off after a pee are two images I never thought I'd see, but here we are.
"Getting Married Today": Sure Matt Doyle sings (and acts) this classic tongue-twister perfectly. But what really makes this number stop the show is his chemistry with Etai Benson, gorgeous interludes by Rashidra Scott, and some really funny staging. Organized chaos that we are here for!
DIANA: Let's face it, this score is a soon-to-be (if not already) guilty pleasure classic. Like the show, the score has two tones, serious musical theater and total camp. And as the kids say, each and every song is a bop that slaps. Completely fun, and so bad it's good, we were able to narrow down our favorite moments to two in each, er, camp...
CAMP: "This Is How Your People Dance" and "The F**k You Dress": It will be some time before we get the image of a Diana strip down and a neon cello out of our head, and damn if the tune of the former isn't an ear worm! Meanwhile, the latter is sure to become a staple in drag shows. We've never hear the f-word sung so well!
SERIOUS: "Snap, Click" and "If": Dance numbers (the former) as social commentary aren't new, but there is something chilling about watch the paparazzi swarm the Princess, knowing her eventual demise, and the trench coat as Cursed Child cape swirls are both thrilling and horrifying. Beautiful anthems (the latter) as ironic finales are also not new, but there is such a bittersweet mix of person triumph and tragedy here that it's hard not to get emotional, and watching Diana fade away into flood of flash bulbs is a striking final image.
EMMET OTTER'S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS:
"The 1st Annual Talent Contest": Well, this one is really a sequence of numbers, but it's a showstopper nonetheless. Any 10 minute thing that enthralls small children who squeal in delight throughout and has the adults belly-laughing certainly qualifies. This perfectly executed piece blends traditional musical theater, vaudeville and the magic of first-rate puppetry. Bravo to all who made this happen.
JAGGED LITTLE PILL:
"Smiling" and "Uninvited": Both of these numbers are showstoppers for two very good reasons. One, Diane Paulus' staging and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's choreography/movement are spectacular. And two, Heidi Blickenstaff gives a stellar powerhouse performance in both. I'd be remiss not to mention the truly stunning dancing done by Heather Lang in "Uninvited." These are theatrical moments I'll remember forever. I miss them already.
"Get Down": The catchiest of a score full of catchy numbers, Brittney Mack is a powerhouse, emulating Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Charlie XCX and a dash of Beyonce. I still can't get "And you can't stop me 'cause, I'm the queen of the castle, get down you dirty rascal" out of my head!